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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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cut off. By the early part of November, 1918, Southern and Central
Poland had been freed and the invader's troops garrisoned in that country
had surrendered. At the end of November, the greater part of Eastern
Poland, and at the end of December, the Western Provinces were taken
from the hands of the Germans. The Polish Forces appeared in Great
Poland (Poznan had been freed on December 27), at a distance of a
hundred miles from Berlin and, by this fact alone, tide Germans' Eastern
front tottered. The German High Command was left with one solution—
to quit Russia. Its forces were faced with the alternative of fighting
their way to the Reich or negotiating for a free passage through Poland.
They chose the latter course and were allowed to pass, on condition
they abandoned their armament and equipment.
Thus the action of the Polish Underground Army had compelled the
Germans to leave Russia and the Ukraine, countries where there had
been no forces capable of disarming them. The Germans left the
Caucasus in December, Kharkov on January 3, 1919, and Kiev and
Minsk a few days later, two months after having been expelled from
Warsaw. Their unwillingness to quit the eastern front was evinced on
their left flank. They continued to stand firm in the Balticum, and, with
East Prussia in their hinterland, the Germans held on for over a year
until the late autumn of 1919. They left Lithuania in the December
of that same year.
The existence of the Underground Army in Poland in 1918 not only
made it possible to disarm the occupant and remove him from his broad
and far-extending front, but it permitted at the same time the immediate
establishment of a national democratic regime in the country* (the election
to Parliament was held on December 28) and the immediate protection of
the frontiers, which were so soon to be attacked by Communist Russia.
Thus, at that very moment, at the end of 1918, it was the Polish Army,
not the German, which stood as a barrier between the West and the
threatening Bolsheviks, and which forbade the entrance of the Red
Revolution into Europe,
The formation of the Underground Army in Poland during the Second
Great War surpassed anything which has hitherto been achieved in the
realms of conspiracy in any country of the world, even in Poland. The
long and determined struggle against the occupant, which culminated in
the Warsaw rising in 1944, was ample proof in itself. The secret military
groups first came into being immediately after the cessation of hostilities
in Poland between the Polish and the invader's armies on October 7,1939.
These groups, based mainly on the existing military units, influenced
here and there by political parties, began to operate on various sectors of
the home front, and slowly, little by little, started to mobilise the people
into an active struggle against the occupying authorities. A Supreme
Command came into being on May 17,1940, with the title of * Command
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